What do you chefs want from your food providers?

Joined Apr 6, 2016
Ok, first time post - please tell me if this is the wrong forum.

I want to hear from you chefs!

I am about to retire, and planning my second career. I have one acre of sunny, flat property in San Antonio, Texas which has never had an ounce of chemicals on it. I want to start a garden with a purpose. The purpose would be to provide organic specialty products for local chefs. My ultimate dream would be a small scale Chef's Garden (Lee Jones).

I know that regionality will make a difference. But generally speaking, what do you chefs find difficult to obtain? Are there certain produce ingredients (fruit, vegetable, herb, whatever) that you wish you could always find from a local provider? I want this to be a chefs-only garden, so I could even possibly grow-to-order. I keep thinking about all the chefs who wish they could go out in their back yard (or rooftop, like Bayless) and pick what they need; but they don't have a yard or a rooftop, or the time to cultivate. What if someone would do it for you?

Is this a viable idea?

I plan to meet up with local chefs (I have a few ins) but would really like to hear from all you experts, so I can be better educated about your needs.

Thanks so much for your input. And, if you think this is a wacky or impractical idea - it's ok to say that too. After all, I'm trying to learn.
Joined Oct 31, 2012
It's a great idea. whether or not it's viable will of course depend on the local market. In addition to meeting with local chefs, I'd talk to what ever Texas has for an agricultural agency to find out what grows best in your climate and figure out how much special attention various plants will need. The more easily grown plants also highly desired by local chefs would be the most profitable. 

Are there any local farms or orchards of any kind you could visit? They may not be organic but could give insight in to what is popular and grows well. 

 I"m not sure limiting it to chefs would be the best business decision unless you had some kind of purchase agreement. You wouldn't want one chef to agree to buy only to find out come harvest that the chef has moved on and no one else from that company is interested. And if the ground is really fertile, you may be able to produce far more than the chefs can use. 
Joined Jun 27, 2012
Sounds like a good idea to me and whatever you cannot sell to your chefs can always be fair game at a farmers market.

Check with the local HD while you are at it and ask if you will need any inspections or licenses (pretty sure you can fall under the Cottage Law but check to be sure) in order to sell.

Like @chefwriter  mentioned get with your local ag office (they used to do free soil analysis) for some one on one attention.

During my stint as a cotton farmer/4H mom I found them to be a great place to get trusty info.

Check into their Master Gardener classes....my sister attended for a certification and it looks good on paper lol.

You could lurk the TAMU ag site as well.

That's about it for me...

Let us know how things go....


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